European Society of Criminology Conference location:Bilbao date:12-15 September 2012
The focus of the paper is sexual violence, the existing retributive justice responses to it and their possible improvement by the inclusion of a more pronounced restorative component.
To begin with, I would like to offer a brief examination of the definitions, aetiology, and consequences of sexual violence both during armed conflicts and during peacetime. I believe that the sui generis nature of sexual violence requires to be fully taken into account in the responses offered by any justice mechanisms, whether transitional or other. Subsequently I will briefly explore the existing responses to this war crime. I will then examine the range of ‘restorative’ responses to this crime which are developing hitherto, the potential benefits and limitations of what may be called a ‘restorative approach’ for sexual violence.
Generally I aim to explore whether the putative ambitions of restorative justice, such as greater accountability, victim empowerment or reconciliation, do in fact provide the potential for a more meaningful response to sexual violence.